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Cross Country Challenge Journal, page 6
Erie, PA to Portsmouth, NH
(Eastern States Tour)

current date and time 2006-10-21 | 09:19:36
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Number of Journal Entries online: 8
Day 45 - Tuesday July 19th - Erie to Hamburg, NY (82 miles) 1010� cumulative climb
Here we go, the final week! The tour rolls into Portsmouth and touches the Atlantic Ocean one week from today! Great to have an off day, but everyone is chomping at the bit to keep moving and get to New Hampshire. Perfect cycling weather, cool in the low 80�s, a little overcast and a super tailwind. Very fast day!! The terrain today was mostly flat with a little roll here and there. Out of Erie we cycle along the Great Lake for most of the day, passing many small communities. The views of Lake Erie were very beautiful. The riding is fairly rural as we pass many farms with stands selling fresh produce. There are also many small family vineyards along the way. Lots of grapes growing and a number of places to stop and pick up a local vintage. I didn�t know there was so much local wine produced here! At the 20 mile mark we cross another state line, into New York! So long Pennsylvania! We�ve got only 2 more state lines to cross! After the SAG Stop in Dunkirk, NY we begin to get away from the lake. We pick up a good, wide, smooth shoulder and scream along into Hamburg a suburb of Buffalo. Everyone arrived in Hamburg safely. Once we got to town, we took an AbB van ride over to the Pedaling History Bicycle Museum in Orchard Park. Great collection of bikes and memorabilia. Thanks to Carl Burgwardt for a great tour! Then a quick hop over the the Olive Garden for a nice dinner before we retire back at the hotel. Overheard on the road, �Can you carry a case of wine in the SAG for me!??� �Hey, is that the stadium where the Buffalo Bills Play??............YEP!!� �Cool museum........quick take my picture!�

posted 2005-07-22 | 16:40:59 | article number: 1

Day 46 - Wednesday July 20th - Hamburg to Canandaigua, NY (94 Miles) 3210� cumulative climb
After a busy day yesterday we got up early and got psyched up for an almost century day. No worries!!!!! The group is very strong now and a century is not as challenging as it was 46 days ago. Weather continues to be great, mid 80�s, low humidity, a little overcast and another good tailwind. Overall a very fast day. The terrain picked up and rolled a lot more today. Mostly long gradual climbs with a few shorter, sharper ones, thrown in once and a while. The views were lots of farms, crops and animals, with some small towns thrown in for diversity. And still plenty of grapes and vineyards to stop and explore. The highlight of the day had to be Canandaigua, both the town and the Lake. Lake Canandaigua is one of 7 finger lakes in upper New York State. It is 17 miles long and averages 1 mile wide. The Seneca Indian name �Kan-an-dar-gue� means �Beautiful Lake.� We all spend a while exploring the lake and town. Everyone arrived in Canandaigua safely. Overheard on the road, �Where�d the name finger lakes come from anyway??� �The locals thought the area so beautiful, say GOD touched the ground with his fingers to create the lakes!� �Can we go have an Ice Cream now??!�

posted 2005-07-22 | 16:42:40 | article number: 2

Day 47 - Thursday July 21st - Canandaigua to Syracuse, NY (63 miles) 1510� cumulative climb

Another quick day! This week is flying. Same great cycling weather, mid 80�s, a little overcast and a tail wind, not to mention shorter mileage. The terrain is bumping up a little more and rolling. We�ve been following the Erie Canal on and off since entering New York. The canal is a handmade water highway used for trade over 100 years ago. Pulled by mules, the large barges were used to transport all types of goods across New York. Our cycling continues to be rural, country riding. The town of interest today had to be Seneca Falls, known as the birthplace of the women�s rights movement. Notable former residents include Amelia Bloomer, who popularized the undergarments that bear her name, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, organizer of the first Women�s Rights Convention and an early feminist leader. The nations first women�s rights convention was held here in 1848. Thru town and back into the country, we snuck into Syracuse the back way and stayed on the edge of town. The group enjoyed the short, �Rolling Rest Day� and spend time by the pool and catching up on housekeeping activities. Everyone arrived in Syracuse safely. Overheard on the road, �Who was Satie Hawkins anyway???� �Pie Stop!!� �On your Left, DUDE!�

posted 2005-07-22 | 16:44:14 | article number: 3

Day 48 - Friday July 22nd - Syracuse to Little Falls, NY (85 miles) 1280� cumulative climb
Not much time left now! Out of Syracuse we ride along the edge of town for a while and ultimately get on the back roads again. We�ve picked up an old route used for many years by the International Randonneurs. The US branch got it�s start here in Syracuse in the late 70�s by Jim Konski. The International Randonneurs are the official sanctioning body for the 1200 KM Paris - Brest - Paris ultra marathon held in France every 4 years. But you must quality for Paris by completing a series of Brevets (200 km, 300 km, 400 km, 60mm) all with time limits. We notice the Brevets arrows on the road for miles. The riding is very scenic, rural and not too hilly. The weather continues to be our friend, nice in the mid 80�s with a little help from the wind. We're following the Erie canal again as we spin thru small upper New York State towns. Nice route! Once on the other side of Utica, it�s a quick hop to Little Falls. Just 60 miles north of Cooperstown, Little Falls was once a real boom town for the canal. Everyone arrived in Little Falls safely. Our gracious host at the Best Western had a terrific reception for us before dinner. Many folks hurried to eat dinner and go to the movies. There was a cinema as part of the hotel. Overheard on the road, �Are we almost there yet?� �Coffee??� �I love NY!�

posted 2005-07-28 | 12:26:29 | article number: 4

Day 49 - Saturday July 23rd - Little Falls to Troy, NY (83 miles) 1200� cumulative climb
Another quick day, our last full day in New York. Weather continues to be pretty good, but getting a little warm. We continue along Rt 5 in NY passing thru many small towns along the canal. Lots of construction today. Not too bad riding, but we did have to wait in a few places to ride around the construction equipment. The highlight today had to be hopping on a local bike path and riding the last 25 miles along the Hudson River. Awesome!! No traffic, hardly anyone on the path, and the views were great. The bike path emptied out, downtown Troy, home to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). We had a chance to walk around and take in the sights before dinner. Everyone arrived in Troy safely. Overheard on the road, �Uncle Sam lived and worked here in TROY?!� �Hey can I borrow your wheel!?!� What�s for dinner?.. Another buffet?�

posted 2005-07-28 | 12:28:01 | article number: 5

Day 50 - Sunday July 24th - Troy to Brattleboro, VT (81 miles) 5180� cumulative climb
Good bye New York! Today we get right back into it, our last mountainous day! The weather today continues to be mid 80�s and overcast, good climbing weather. We all feel like Lance today as he wins his 7th Tour de France. We begin to gain elevation right away as we gradually climb away from the Hudson. The terrain settlers down as we head out into the country again. Crossing into Vermont, we enter our 12th State. Everyone's getting pretty pumped to be here! Next up is Bennington a very quaint town known for its pottery. The Appalachians are upon us. We hit the first of 2 big climbs. Sit back and get comfortable, find a good gear and spin away. Mountain climbing isn't that bad, just slow. 10 miles to the top and then a great descent for a few miles. Then it�s right back up again, another good climb, though not as long. Then comes the best part, it seems like we descend all the way down to Brattleboro. The climbs seem so different than out west. We are all much stronger, therefore they don�t seem as tough. And the scenery is so very different. Out west there isn�t as much vegetation, trees etc. Here there are more trees than you can shake a stick at, it�s hard to see the brilliant views until you climb out of the tree line and can see over them. But it is well worth the effort. Everything is so GREEN! Hence the name, Green Mountain State! We get a chance to explore town before before we head over to the hotel. History and the people charm us and really give us a reason to come back someday and explore for a while more. Everyone arrived in Brattleboro safely. Overheard on the road, �Are we still going up?� �I don�t see a starbucks but that cafe look cool!� � WOW, that was a fast descent!�

posted 2005-07-28 | 12:36:19 | article number: 6

Day 51 - Monday July 25th - Brattleboro to Manchester, NH (86 miles) 5800� cumulative climb
Up early for the challenging day! Weather a little cooler, low 80�s and a little more humid. Out of Brattleboro we immediately cross the Connecticut River and we�re in New Hampshire!!!! Wow we�re almost there! Though we�ll have to get through the next 150 miles to see the Atlantic. Whoever said New Hampshire was flat! While we are not in the mountains, the rolling terrain and sharp climbs would make Missouri envious. Very rural riding today! Pitcher Mountain and Joe English Road were definitely climbing highlights. Everyone is getting more excited with each mile. We come into Manchester the back way and suddenly are in the city. Manchester, one of the most populated cities in NH, gained fame as the largest textile producing city in the world, at one time. Everyone arrived in Manchester safely. After dinner we had a chance to spend a little time together sharing our personal thoughts about the trip. The staff also gave out some cool awards, like most flat tires, most improved rider, most stops @ DQ, etc. We all had a tear in the eye by the end of the evening. This group has become a real family and it will be hard to go home. But our goal is clearly in sight!! Overheard on the road, �I could�ve used power assist on that one!� �Can�t we stay here a while and rest?� �This is the best trip I�ve ever taken!!�

posted 2005-07-28 | 12:37:52 | article number: 7

Day 52 - Tuesday July 26th - Manchester to Portsmouth, NH (62 miles) 750� cumulative climb
This is it!! Hard to sleep last night thinking about this day. Sunny weather is back, low 90�s and humid. We head out across Manchester and ultimately slip back into the country past Lake Massabesic. The terrain is still rolling but much more tame than yesterday. We are rolling down to the ocean. Small New Hampshire towns dot the landscape. Many are classic Norman Rockwell views, white steeple church, green town common, very beautiful. The group is riding together closely targeting to be in Rye, NH by 11:30am. We�re meeting up with the Rye Police Department at the local Jr. High and getting a police escort the final 3 miles over to Wallis Sands State Beach where we�ll see the Atlantic for the first time and get to dip the wheels. We all make it to the Jr. High on time and on schedule the Rye Pd are there!! Doug Torosian, President of America by Bicycle is waiting for us too. He offers Greetings, Congratulations and his Thanks, nice surprise! We line up and the police lead us out to Beach Road and we see the ocean!!! Hard to describe the picture of cyclists riding together under police escort along the ocean. Then we pull into the beach!! It�s packed, classic summer day at the seashore. We feel like celebrities as we walk thru the sea of people down to the water and dip our front wheel in the Atlantic Ocean and realize our dream of cycling coast to coast!!!! We�ve done it!!! It doesn�t get any better than this!!! WOW!! Lots of family and friend are here to share in the moment. After all the pictures and questions we saddle up for a few more miles. Up the seacoast to Portsmouth, then thru town and over to the hotel. Whew.................. Hard to believe it�s over. The support crew continues to help get people pointed in the right direction, assist with getting bikes boxed and shipped home and generally saying good bye. It�s hard to comprehend the magnitude of this achievement. I know it�ll take a little time...........but it sure feels good! This was a great adventure We rode our bicycles coast to coast, thru 13 states, from San Francisco to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 4000 miles over 52 days and climbed 100,000 feet. AWESOME! Everyone arrived in Portsmouth Safely. Overheard on the road, �Where did you start from?.........San Francisco?!?!.........Cool� �Amazing� �This is the way to see the country!� �AbBike is the best supported ride I�ve ever done, I�ll be back!� �Thanks America, It's been fun!� �Can we turn around and go back now?!?� �So Long For Now!�

posted 2005-07-28 | 12:42:09 | article number: 8

Back to Page 1 San Francisco to Salt Lake City, UT (Western States Tour)
Back to Page 2 Salt Lake City to Pueblo, CO (Rocky Mountain Tour)
Back to Page 3 Pueblo, CO to St. Joseph, MO (Tour de Plains)
Back to Page 4 St. Joseph, MO to Indianapolis, IN (Heartland Tour)
Back to Page 5 Indianapolis, IN to Erie, PA (Country Mileage Tour)

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